What Are The Main Traits Of A Good Research Paper?

Instructors in different curricular areas like to assign research papers. When students are given these assignments, they are often just told how many pages it should be and how many sources are needed. Student then are left to on their own to complete these projects without knowing what traits should be included. Here are the main traits of a top-notch writing project:

  • Clear, concise writing. Since this is a nonfiction assignment, it is best to write it in a clear and concise style. This is not the type of paper that should be full of flowery, descriptive words. It should have a professional, unbiased tone, even if the paper is supporting an opinion. Instructors get disappointed when they see a major project like this filled unnecessary words.
  • Quality sources. Since a typical research paper is designed to prove a point, it is in the writer’s best interest to use the best possible sources. This means that they should come from academic and professional journals, not from blog posts that pop up first in search engine results. The sources should not be trying to sell something. In fact, the best sources come from websites that do not have advertisements on them at all.
  • Follow the formatting. Every major writing assignment should follow the formatting that is designed for the discipline of the class. For example, if you are writing a paper for your literature class or foreign language class, it is best to use the MLA style. This style is easy to find online and easy to follow, especially if you have a sample to use. Psychology and social sciences use the APA style, which is used more often that MLA. Your instructors want to see that you can follow directions and readers will appreciate that it is in a recognizable format.
  • Use charts, graphs, and illustrations. Even though the paper is about the words you write and the argument you support, modern projects should include attractive and informative charts and graphs. These make it easy for readers to fully understand what you are trying to say, especially if your facts and support include numbers. You can insert them directly into the paper, or you can add them to the appendix at the end of the paper. Just be sure to cite the source of the graph. If you designed your own, you should cite the information that you used to create it.